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iN PHOTOS: Rutland protesters not backing down

Dozens of protesters gathered on McCurdy Road on June 30.
June 30, 2019 - 4:59 PM

KELOWNA - For the second straight weekend, protesters gathered in Rutland to show this displeasure over a proposed supportive housing complex. Organizer Christopher Bocskei said they'll protest every weekend if they have to.

Dozens of protesters met at 130 McCurdy Road on June 30 to voice their concerns over a supportive housing complex that's going to be built at the address. Many protesters call it a "wet house," believing it will give drug addicts free rein to abuse substances in the neighbourhood.

The supportive housing project has been controversial since it was announced earlier this month. Several Rutlanders have pointed out that crime levels seem to be reaching an all-time high in the area and many worry a supportive housing complex could just add fuel to the fire.

Signs filled McCurdy Road on Sunday.
Signs filled McCurdy Road on Sunday.

Pat and Sandy Howden are two residents who are concerned about the complex's impact. Their house is situated right behind the construction site. They've noticed a spike in Rutland crime in the last few years, with people stealing security cameras and water sprinklers from their property and throwing rocks at their dog. They're worried the complex would make Rutland less safe and lower surrounding property values, making it harder for people to move away.

"We're terrified," Sandy said.

Protesters are also concerned that the complex will be less than a kilometre from Rutland Senior Secondary and Middle Schools. Audra Boudreau, a parent, created a petition which claims roughly 2700 children would be within the one kilometre radius of the complex.

"We have to protect or kids and seniors," she said. "As the adults it's our job."

Protesters asked passersby to sign the petition.
Protesters asked passersby to sign the petition.

Boudreau's petition has spread across the city, garnering an estimated 6000-7000 signatures. Boudreau said they'll take the completed petition to the City of Kelowna and the provincial legislature.

"I'm hoping it shows the City exactly what the residents want," she said.

Bocskei said they plan to organize protests in Rutland every Sunday.

"We're not going to back down," he said.

Concerns over the supporting housing complex's proximity to Rutland schools.
Concerns over the supporting housing complex's proximity to Rutland schools.

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